10 years after nuclear deal: How estranged democracies became ‘natural & best partners’

t’s been a transformative decade in the India-US relations, birthed and nurtured by the path-breaking nuclear deal that morphed the once estranged democracies into engaged democracies. The 10th anniversary of the transformational India-US nuclear deal, conceived on a warm summer day in July 2005, deserved a joint op-ed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama, with a soaring vision statement of the brave new future of this crucial relationship. Or better still, the two principal protagonists in catalyzing the deal – then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and then US President George Bush – would have found time to pen their reflections, and a thousand visions and revisions that framed the grand bargain. They may still do that, but for now we may have to do with the joint op-ed by the ambassadors of India and the US, published in the Huffington Post.

The two grown-up democracies can’t be expected to agree on every issue, and there are still many imponderables that can challenge this defining partnership, but the horizons for the multi-hued India-US relations remain relatively unclouded. The establishments in New Delhi and beltway Washington may cavil, but the sheer strength of people-to-people relations will ensure that the intricate machinery of India-US partnership will keep humming with new ideas, energy and drive to transform the lives of people not just in the two countries, but around the world. This is the true legacy of the India-US nuclear deal, provided this transformative impulse will endure in the decades ahead.

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Modi-Obama bonding: The new normal high in India-US relations

First-name bonding, “Barack and I.” Tete-a-tete over tea, “chai pe charcha.” Bear hugs, hand-holding and a walk around the rose garden, “chalein saath saath”. Footfalls echo in the memory… Well, one is not talking about puppy love of besotted lovers, but a tightening embrace of the world’s two largest, engaged democracies in an all-embracing agenda whose reverberations are going to be felt in the years to come.
In Delhi’s deepening chill, sparks flew and lit up a moribund nuclear deal and shone a new path of “shared effort, progress for all,” as India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama firmed up an ambitious template for re-igniting the defining partnership of the 21st century and walked the talk to deliver substantive outcomes. The new normal in India-US relations, which was construed to mean habituation to sub-optimal engagement, has morphed into the “new normal high.” The big-ticket outcome of the Modi-Obama summit talks on January 25 was not just the nuclear deal, but the decisive shedding of ambivalence and diffidence, which will lead to the interlocking and intermeshing of the two engaged democracies across the full spectrum of economics and geopolitics.
Talking openly, resolving differences, joking with each other, and smiling naturally. This is the way to go for natural partners, and this hopefully should be the new normal high in the India-US relationship. No time for Mr Modi to lose sleep, the deal is done.

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The nuclear deal is done: India, US break liability logjam

Ending six years of a festering impasse, India and the US have ended their long-standing logjam by sealing administrative arrangements for implementing their pathbreaking nuclear deal, with the two sides agreeing on an insurance pool to address the liability issues.
The negotiations went down the wire, but were successfully concluded with a joint push from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama.
At a joint media interaction, both Mr Modi and Mr Obama looked upbeat as they declared to scale up the India-US relations to new heights in days to come and also announced a breakthrough in the nuclear deal negotiations.

In the last few months, I see new excitement and confidence in this relationship. I see renewed energy in our engagement,” an upbeat Modi said, while underlining personal chemistry and bonding he has developed with President Obama since he met him first in September 2014 in the White House.
Mr Obama also spoke about a breakthrough in the nuclear deal.
The setting up of an insurance pool proved to be a game-changing moment to address the US’ concerns over India’s nuclear liability. After tortuous negotiations, the two sides agreed on the Rs 750 (around $130 million) insurance poll as part of risk management strategy for both suppliers and operators.

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With hugs and smiles, Obama begins India journey

Radiant smiles, a stately wave of hands, warm hugs….US President Barack Obama touched down in India to begin a three-day historic trip that’s set to map out new frontiers for the dynamic and evolving India-US relations.
The second visit by Mr Obama to India, and the first by an American president as the chief guest at the country’s Republic Day celebrations, is deeply symbolic of a new high point in the transforming relations between the world’s two largest democracies.
With First Lady Michelle on his side, Obama walked down the air-stair of Air Force One on a wintry Sunday morning in Delhi to a red carpet welcome.
Breaking protocol, Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally received him, with the two leaders warmly hugging each other – an embrace whose meaning is going to unfold in the next three days President Obama will be in India. The surprise decision by Mr Modi to receive his American guest at the airport has kindled optimism that the two leaders have managed to resolve some knotty issues and are on the verge of announcing significant outcomes after their wide-ranging talks in the afternoon.

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Obama’s India journey: Pomp, symbolism and mapping next steps

Blending pomp and ceremony with substantive outcomes, US President Barack Obama’s forthcoming visit to New Delhi promises to “reinvigorate” the multifarious India-US strategic partnership and reinforce the centrality of Washington as “a key partner” of New Delhi in the ongoing transformation of India and its aspiration to play a bigger role on the global stage.
Ahead of the trip, both India and the US have struck an upbeat note. “We see President Obama’s visit as strengthening our ties across the full breadth of our relations – ties between our governments, our peoples and our institutions,” said Syed Akbaruddin, spokesperson of India’s ministry of external affairs, in New Delhi January 22.
Washington is also betting big on Obama’s visit and has underlined multiple advantages for the US in building a closer and multi-faceted relationship. Headline-hunters may be disappointed though; breakthroughs and big-ticket outcomes may not be immediately visible, but the broad paradigm of the India-US has shifted to a point when there is greater comfort and assurance in the relationship so that the two countries can shed the temptations of hype and quietly and incrementally fructify what they have promised to do, and sustain an enduring and mutually empowering partnership.

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